The diplomacy of decolonisation

America, Britain and the United Nations during the Congo crisis 1960-1964

By Alanna O'Malley

The diplomacy of decolonisation


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1626-0
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: January 2018
  • BIC Category: Humanities / National liberation & independence, post-colonialism, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Society & social sciences / International relations, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, International Relations, International relations, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / African, HISTORY / Africa / Central, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, Society & social sciences / United Nations & UN agencies, Democratic Republic Of Congo (Zaire), Sub-Saharan Africa, Society & social sciences / Diplomacy
  • Series: Key Studies in Diplomacy


The book reinterprets the role of the UN during the Congo crisis from 1960 to 1964, presenting a multidimensional view of the organisation. Through an examination of the Anglo-American relationship, the book reveals how the UN helped position this event as a lightning rod in debates about how decolonisation interacted with the Cold War. By examining the ways in which the various dimensions of the UN came into play in Anglo-American considerations of how to handle the Congo crisis, the book reveals how the Congo debate reverberated in wider ideological struggles about how decolonisation evolved and what the role of the UN would be in managing this process. The UN became a central battle ground for ideas and visions of world order; as the newly-independent African and Asian states sought to redress the inequalities created by colonialism, the US and UK sought to maintain the status quo, while the Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld tried to reconcile these two contrasting views.


'A sharp, perceptive, multi-level analysis of one of the most difficult crises the UN had to manage. O'Malley weaves together empire and decolonisation, internationalism and the Cold War, great power rivalry and public diplomacy, to give us an original, inspiring representation of the complexity - and fickleness - of international politics.'
Federico Romero, European University Institute

'You will be hard-pressed to find a more provocative, original interpretation of the Congo crisis. In Alanna O'Malley's hands, the Congo is an entrepôt, illuminating the United Nations' autonomy in international affairs while highlighting the tensions that coursed through the North Atlantic and Afro-Asian alliances. Diplomacy of Decolonisation is indispensable to students of African international history, and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the Cold War and decolonisation. '
Ryan Irwin, University at Albany

'This latest work on the complex and controversial Congo crisis is clear, well researched and expertly put together, while providing some fresh insights and coverage of the Stanleyville hostage crisis.'
John Kent, London School of Economics


Alanna O'Malley is Lecturer in History at Leiden University


1. A challenge for humanity
2. The Dag factor
3. Fighting over Katanga
4. 'After Dag - what?'
5. 'A nice little stew'
6. The Stanleyville hostages and the withdrawal of the UN, 1964

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